New Beginnings

Mar. 31st 2013


Happy Easter!

From Brett and Michelle Darnell



What a weekend and what wonderful meaning it truly has for us! It just seem prefect that on Friday, I left my corporate job to start a new chapter in our lives. Today, the air is a little warmer and the flowers are blooming, a true sign that Spring is finally here and new beginning for the land. And today, being Easter and the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, a new beginning for all.

While, we are so excited to be starting this chapter in our lives, I would be kidding you if I told you that I had no doubt in what is to come; no worries that it will turn out as we had hope. One thing I have enjoyed about this blog is that through it, I feel like I can show others what it really takes to step out of your comfort zone and to pursue your dreams. So I try to be as honest as I can, to tell you of the highs and the lows so that you understand what it has taken for us to get this far.

As we come into contact with people in our travels and daily lives, we talk about our blog as a source of information on the history of Belle Grove Plantation and the history of our progress to opening it to the public. We joke about it being our “reality show”. But unlike the “reality shows” you see on television that are mostly scripted drama, ours is as you read it.

I would be fooling you if I told you that I wake ever morning with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. The truth is I have been waking up a lot earlier with agendas running through my head.

“Who do I need to talk to today?”

“Will we be able to get the Osprey nest moved before they lay eggs?”

“Will the Osprey take to the new nest that we have built for them?”

“Will we find the right people to cut down our historic trees and use them for something good?”

“Will we get the grading done in time and the seed or sod down so we can open with beautiful green grass and not puddles of mud?”

“Will we get the final engineering plans for the storm water run-off approved through the Planning Commission and VDOT in time to get the parking area completed before opening day?”

“What plants do we want to use in the flower beds and are they something special and will look good?”

“Will I be able find the right china and flatware in time and within budget?”

“Who is going to paint the inside and make the repairs we need and keep us from going bankrupt before we even get started?”

“Are we going to be able to raise the funds we need before the Summer Kitchen or Smokehouse completely slide off their foundations?”

To tell you the truth, I don’t know how I slept sometimes. There aren’t answers to calm my mind and worries seem to creep up on me out of the blue. Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Am I crazy or just stupid?” (to borrow the line from Forrest Gump)

I think the only thing that keeps me sane, beside my wonderful husband and our many friends and readers that keep supporting us, is the fact that it has all seemed to work itself out as it should. Everything seems to just show up at the right time or we have been in the right place or met the right people. It was as if it was destined to be. As if it was God ordained.

I know we have readers from many backgrounds and beliefs so I don’t want to offend anyone. But as for Brett and I, we have been Christians from many years. So I pray each day, thanking God for the many blessings we have received. I tell him how I marvel at how He has worked things out just right. I also tell Brett that in my biggest moment of doubt, I stop and think to myself, “How could God bring us to this point only to allow us to fail.” It is after reminding me of that, that I find a renewed strength to push on.

So yes, I believe with all my heart we belong at Belle Grove Plantation. I believe that it will become something really special. And even in moments of doubt which are completely normal for anyone that is going through so much change, things will be okay. But the most important thing through it all is:

I Believe!


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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 59 Comments »

Tomorrow’s the Day!

Feb. 11th 2013
Belle Grove in the Morning

Belle Grove in the Morning

Can you believe it??

Our first Zoning Permit Public Hearing is tomorrow!!

It seems like forever to get here! 

We are so excited to be here.

As of tomorrow, we have been working on this project for

580 days!!

But what this means for us is the start of the race to the finish line called “Opening Day“.

Once we finish with this meeting (and if we are approved) we will have one more Zoning Permit Meeting on March 19th.

If we are approved on March 19th, we are a “go” to start filling the house and doing the landscaping.

If we get all of that done in time

Opening Day will be

May 1, 2013!

We are excited to have gotten on Twitter and Instagram too!

Now if you are following,  you too can see the purchases we are making and the work we are doing in “real time”!

What a cool way to share the fun!

We want to thank all of you who went to our Facebook Fan Page over the last few days, “Liked” Us and “Shared” Us with your Facebook Friends! This will help us show the Planning Commission and the locals that will be come to our public hearing that we are well on the way to opening a successful Bed and Breakfast in their county!

We are almost to 1000 Likes!

Just 114 more!

Hurley and Brett at the Plantation

Hurley and Brett at the Plantation

I think Hurley deserves that Monster Chew Bone!

We will share the pictures of him getting it once we give it to him!

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Hurley | 37 Comments »


Feb. 7th 2013

Yes, we are getting well connected!


We are now on Instagram! 

If  you follow our blog and Facebook Fan Page,  you know how much I love taking pictures! And what a great time to get started! We are traveling to the plantation on Friday!

Have you ever wondered what we see as we drive to and from the plantation? Tomorrow, I will be posting pictures along the way to the plantation! What a wonderful Virginia country side you will see! 

Please follow us at “bellegroveva” on Instagram  and enjoy!

Help Me

Don’t forget to help Hurley!

When we hit 1000 on our Facebook Fan Page…

Hurley gets a Monster Chew Bone!

We are getting close!

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Thank you to everyone that have “Liked” us and “Shared” us on your Facebook Page!

Also find us on:

Twitter @BelleGroveVA

Pinterest @bellegroveva

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Hurley | 23 Comments »